Efforts on to follow a common operational procedure to handle such cases
It is abject poverty that drives children to travel long distances from home to work in an alien place. They do not appreciate being ‘rescued’ because they lose an income. They also do not like being sent back home, to the same poverty, explains Fr. Ryan David, Director of Don Bosco Anbu Illam, a children's home here.
The situation seems to be no different for many rescued child workers at various care homes, who find it difficult to live in the confines of these homes, where there are no proper measures for rehabilitation.
R. Senthilkumar, District Child Protection Officer, agrees that it is a sad situation.
“It is true that children are kept confined because they have to be kept safe. But all the children’s homes are asked to provide them with vocational training so that they learn some means of employment. The homes are also told to encourage the children to engage in outdoor sports to develop their personality. These measures will distract their minds from running away”.
The most difficult is the condition of children, whose parents can never be traced. The children, after being rescued by the Childline, are registered with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and sent to children’s homes. The CWCs coordinate with the authorities of the States or districts where the children hail from. If the parents are identified, then the children are sent back home. Others remain with the home until they reach the age of 18.
Fr. David says that the elder children who are rescued are those who have never been to school. “So, it is impossible to send them to school when they are 10 years of age and above .
Also, those who are in the age group of 13 and 17 years and have been working and sending money to their families do not like to remain idle in the homes.In such conditions, they run away from the homes", he added.
Mr. Senthil Kumar believes that rehabilitating those from other States to earn a livelihood in Tamil Nadu is not a viable situation as the children lack education, language and cultural skills to live here.
To address this, the authorities are trying to ensure that all CWCs and departments connected to child welfare follow a common operational procedure to handle cases related to abandoned / rescued children. Also, since most of the rescued children are from other States, they are looking at developing strong inter-State linkages for the same to ensure the rehabilitation takes place in their respective States.